Modernising parliamentary democracy

Book review | Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law

Book review | Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law

In Legislation at Westminster: Parliamentary Actors and Influence in the Making of British Law, Meg Russell and Daniel Gover offer a comprehensive and empirically rigorous assessment of the role that parliament plays in the UK policy-making process. This is a meticulously researched book, writes Ed Page, that is a must-read for both students and scholars wanting to better understand how laws […]

Where would an English Parliament be located?

Where would an English Parliament be located?

Ongoing UCL Constitution Unit research is exploring options for an English Parliament. The choice of location would have major practical implications, as well as being of high symbolic importance. Jack Sheldon (UCL Constitution Unit) sets out the factors that would need to be considered. He suggests that while a ‘dual mandate’ English Parliament would almost certainly meet […]

Does the online tool WriteToThem foster meaningful communication with constituents?

Does the online tool WriteToThem foster meaningful communication with constituents?

Some predicted the internet would be the silver bullet that could deal with the deficits of representative democracy. Others were less optimistic about its potential to foster democracy. Hartwig Pautz (University of the West of Scotland) looks at whether the e-democracy tool WriteToThem allows for meaningful communication between citizens and their elected representatives. Similar PostsEveryone loves select committees […]

How Parliament’s campaign of attrition forced the government to open up about Brexit

How Parliament’s campaign of attrition forced the government to open up about Brexit

The real battle over Brexit has not been about whether Parliament will get a final vote, writes Ben Worthy (Birkbeck University of London). The true fight is about information – about what kind of Brexit the government wants, and what its impact is likely to be. In this, Parliament has been rather successful. Pressure from select committees and […]

Everyone loves select committees these days. But have they really changed?

Everyone loves select committees these days. But have they really changed?

The Wright reforms have been widely credited with reinvigorating select committees. Stephen Bates, Mark Goodwin (University of Birmingham) and Steve McKay (University of Lincoln) take issue with this assumption. They found the reforms have made little or no difference to MP turnover and attendance, which are driven by the parliamentary cycle. When MPs are jostling […]

‘Desperately seeking an elderly gentleman with a large majority … to persuade Parliament to allow MPs to job-share’

‘Desperately seeking an elderly gentleman with a large majority … to persuade Parliament to allow MPs to job-share’

Or a woman MP for that matter, write Rosie Campbell and Sarah Childs (Birkbeck). But they must be adored by their parliamentary and local constituency party so that both will be happy for them to stand as half of one of the first MP job-shares at the next General Election. We think it might take […]

A helping hand? Tracking changes in support to All-Party Parliamentary Groups since 2001

A helping hand? Tracking changes in support to All-Party Parliamentary Groups since 2001

There are over 600 All-Party Parliamentary Groups in the Westminster Parliament. Paul EJ Thomas (Carleton University) discusses the monetary and in-kind support these informal groups receive, and their role in the policy-making process. He concludes that the increasing influence NGOs and charities enjoy as a result of funding APPGs deserves more scrutiny. Similar PostsAudit 2017: […]

Many government consultations are more about meeting legal requirements than listening

Many government consultations are more about meeting legal requirements than listening

Consultations are often a legal requirement for government departments – but this sometimes means they are formulaic and ineffective. In an extract from his report, Creating a democracy for everyone: strategies for increasing listening and engagement by government, Jim Macnamara (University of Technology Sydney/ LSE) looks at some of the failings of government consultation, and […]

Audit 2017: How democratic is the Brexit process?

Audit 2017: How democratic is the Brexit process?

Many political and constitutional steps are needed in order to for the UK to leave the European Union, after 44 years as a full member. Cumulatively they form one of the biggest constitutional changes in British history, and one dogged by intense controversy and disputes. As part of our 2017 Audit of UK Democracy, Joelle Grogan examines […]

Why is it taking so long to appoint a new Intelligence and Security Committee?

Why is it taking so long to appoint a new Intelligence and Security Committee?

For the past five months the Intelligence and Security Committee has been in abeyance. Yet its job of scrutinising the work of the security agencies is even more vital at a time when Britain is regularly attacked by terrorists. Andrew Defty (University of Lincoln) asks what is delaying the appointment of a new committee, and […]

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